The Oregon Senate is considering making ignition interlock devices optional for some drunk driving offenders, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving is, well, MADD about it. The Salem Statesman-Journal reports the Senate Judiciary Committee tacked an amendment to a House bill involving the devices, which keep drunk drivers from starting their cars if they fail a breath test, and sent it to the floor.
A law passed in 2011 requires all offenders in diversion programs to install an interlock device, but it didn’t address what happened to people who repeatedly failed to start their car due to intoxication–or who tried to tamper with the device.
House Bill 4026 would require device makers to share any negative reports with defense attorneys and court-mandated treatment providers. The law would also allow judges to install a camera in an offender’s car.
The Senate amendment would make the interlock optional for drivers who had a blood alcohol content more than the legal limit of 0.08 but less than 0.15, if the driver was eligible for a diversion program. It would be at the judge’s discretion.
MADD says the amendment would significantly weaken Oregon’s DUII law. Its statistics show Oregon’s drunk driving rates dropped substantially after the state began requiring the interlocks.